Aberdeen’s claim as the jewel in the crown of the UK’s energy industry has been called into question.
Attendees at the Southern North Sea conference heard that the East of England’s gas, wind and nuclear supplies mean it is the true “energy capital” of the UK.
Martin Dronfield, the outgoing executive chairman of the East of England Energy Group (EEEGR), laid down the gauntlet in a move that will undoubtedly ruffle a few feathers in the Granite City.
Aberdeen has long billed itself as the oil and gas capital of Europe, and there are ambitions to be the same again for the energy transition.
It comes as a report published this week warned that status, due to policies like the UK windfall tax, could be under threat.
The north-east of Scotland is the entrance to much of the Central and Northern North Sea, but it is the Southern part of the basin that has garnered a lot of attention in the last year.
The region is home to a wealth of gas resources, and Deltic Energy’s massive find at Pensacola is expected to provide fresh exploration and production impetus.
Mr Dronfield, who will step away from EEEGR next week, said: “If you’re new to the East of England, you will quickly discover that you are in the energy production and energy distribution capital of the UK.”
He added: “We are a region that has world class companies within it, and world class skills hones over 60 years of energy production. The East of England can quite rightly call itself the energy production capital of the UK. A bold claim maybe, but allow me to give you a few updated facts.
“We have 37% of the UK’s existing offshore wind farms, producing around 5 gigawatts (GW) of clean electricity, and a further 9.7GW in the pipeline.
“The Southern North Sea still produces around a third of the UK’s gas requirements from 139 offshore production platforms, and 30% of the UK’s gas flows through the Bacton Gas Terminal.
“In this region, we have an asset of national importance with a huge potential future, and a role in both hydrogen and potentially carbon capture utilisation and storage (CCUS).”
Mr Dronfield also highlighted the onshore wind, solar, energy storage, and bioenergy projects, meaning the region supplies the “equivalent of 8 million homes” with power.
“Our region can rightly boast of its significant status in the UK energy production and storage efforts. We have energy, infrastructure, ports and world class academic and training facilities.”
EEEGR’s Southern North Sea 2023 conference, themed on ‘Vision 2030’, got underway at the Norfolk Showground on the outskirts of Norwich on Wednesday.